Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker joined a growing list of his Senate colleagues in calling on Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to resign from office after he was indicted on federal bribery and corruption charges last week.
Citing the “shocking allegations” Menendez is facing, Booker — who stood by his New Jersey colleague when he was indicted in 2015 on a separate set of corruption allegations that ended in a mistrial — called on him to resign in a statement.
“Senator Menendez is again facing a federal indictment, one that contains shocking allegations of corruption and specific, disturbing details of wrongdoing. I’ve found the allegations hard to reconcile with the person I know,” Booker said.
“Stepping down is not an admission of guilt but an acknowledgment that holding public office often demands tremendous sacrifices at great personal cost,” he added. “Senator Menendez has made these sacrifices in the past to serve. And in this case he must do so again. I believe stepping down is best for those Senator Menendez has spent his life serving.”
Over the weekend, Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) became the first Democratic senator to publicly call on Menendez to resign.
Since then more and more of his Democratic colleagues have joined him.
On Tuesday Booker along with Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jon Tester (D-MT), a red state Democrat, Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called on Menendez to step down.
“These are serious charges, and it’s time for Sen. Menendez to step away from the Senate and concentrate on his legal defense,” Warren said.
And on Monday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said in a statement that Menendez “has broken the public trust and should resign from the U.S. Senate.”
Sen. Peter Welch also joined in the call, saying “the shocking and specific allegations against Senator Menendez have wholly compromised his capacity to be that effective Senator.”
While calls for Menendez to resign are coming in from several Democratic senators at this point, some have been silent or, like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), have signaled they won’t push for his resignation right now.
Menendez is facing three counts in a Manhattan federal indictment. The senator and his wife Nadine have been accused of allegedly taking gold bars, furniture, a Mercedes-Benz convertible, cash, and other favors from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for official acts, according to the indictment.
Those official acts allegedly included transferring sensitive government information to the government of Egypt, trying to thwart state and federal criminal investigations of his associates, among other things.
Menendez denied the charges against him and on Monday pushed back on lawmakers who have called for his resignation, saying they “rushed to judgment because they see a political opportunity for themselves or those around them.”